Saturday, December 10, 2011

Playing God

I suppose ... well, that is a phrase that reeks of Rene Descartes. Yes, the "I think therefore I am" guy. "Cogito ergo sum" is the Latin phrase, which he wrote. "Je pense donc je suis" is the French, which he spoke.

Supposing is thinking and thinking means existing, at least according to Descartes. Descartes' life straddled the 16th and 17th centuries. He was born in France, but spent most of his adult life in Holland, which was a little more tolerant of thinkers than his native France. He was an influential mathematician, but prefered to philosophize, and became one of the leading figures of the Age of Rationalism, even though there was little thought  then or now which could be considered truly rational. He is remembered by most students of Western Civilization for this one ambiguous and vague statement.

Anyway - getting back to the point. I suppose that we all have, at one time or another, thought about "playing God". I put it in quotes, because it is just a figurative expression. Literally, we have no chance of turning order out of chaos, or creating life from the dust. But figuratively,  given the chance would we take it? Would we do it all differently? Would the universe and this world in which we live have turned out for the better if you or I were at the controls?

"The world belongs to the thinkers" , I told my son today. After all, they are the ones who make the world that we see.

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